FORT POLK, La. – Soldiers and family members arrived at the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Baseball Clinic Aug. 10 with baseball glove in hand, ready to play ball. Children and adults alike wore caps revealing their favorite baseball team.
The 1st MEB and Fort Polk Installation Chaplain’s Office held the Baseball Clinic at Perez Youth Field. Anthony Telford, a former major league baseball pitcher and ordained Christian minister, arrived at the event to support Soldiers and share inspirational testimonials – and a few pitching tips.
Telford autographed baseball cards, shirts and took individual and group photos with Soldiers and family members.
He demonstrated proper pitching techniques on the pitcher’s mound and the kids threw baseballs to him as he played shortstop at the home plate. He held a brief question-and-answer session.
“How old were you when you started?” asked Gabriel Ortiz, son of Spc. Luis Santana, 178th Engineer Battalion.
“I started playing baseball at 8 years old,” said Telford. “You won’t lose any ground between 8 and twelve because you can’t hardly walk and chew gum till you’re about 12. If you have a late bloomer, they can still pick up the skill.”
Telford said he drew strength from his faith. He moved 42 times during his baseball career, and traveling and being married with kids is not easy, he said.
“You can’t do it by yourself,” he said. “ But what we go through to play the game is nothing compared to what you (Soldiers) go through.”
As Telford shared anecdotes of his career, he also explained one of his more unusual goals.
“One of my goals at the beginning of the season was to never be on ESPN,” said Telford. “You want to know why? When you look on ESPN tonight all the pictures are of middle relievers and there giving up a homer (homerun).
The only time you’re on ESPN is if you’re giving up homerun. So my goal was to be nice and quite like Special Forces I try to get in and get out before anyone ever knew I’d pitched.”
Maj. Karl Reuter of 1st MEB Brigade staff secured 50 game tickets to the August 10th Houston Astros vs. Texas Ranger Major League Baseball game at the Minute Maid Field in Houston Texas. As baseball Clinic came to an end, Soldiers and Families loaded into vans headed to the game.